232 BYZANTINE CHURCHES CHAP.
monastery. Anathemas, cursing all supporters of the union in the past, in the present, and in the future resounded on every hand. The answer of Gennadius was carried through the city and found an echo among all classes of the population. . Men ran to the taverns to drink undiluted wine, in derision of the Roman practice of mixing water with the wine of the Holy Communion; they shouted themselves hoarse with maledictions on the unionists ; they drank to the honour of the Theotokos, invoking her aid as in the days of old, when she delivered the city out of the hands of the Persians, the Avars, and the Saracens. Far and wide rose the •,cry, c Away with the help and the worship of the Latin eaters of unleavened bread/l The two scenes witnessed, on the I2th December 1452, in S. Sophia and at the Pantokrator displayed a discord that hastened the downfall of New Rome. That day the party with the watchword, c Better the turban of the Turk than the tiara of the Pope,' gained the victory.
Upon the capture of the city, the Greek community, owing to the recent death of the Patriarch Athanasius, found itself without an ecclesiastical chief. The conqueror, anxious to conciliate his Greek subjects, proclaimed complete < religious toleration, and gave orders that they should forthwith proceed to the free election of a new patriarch. Under the circumstances there could be no question as to the right man for the place. Gennadius, who had opposed the unprofitable Latin alliance, and saved the national Church notwithstanding the ruin of the Empire, was unanimously chosen to be the first guide of his people along the strange and difficult path they were now to follow. The choice being confirmed by the Sultan, Gennadius left the Pantokrator to do homage to the new master of the realm. Every mark of honour was paid to the prelate. He was invited to the royal table and granted a long audience, at which, following the practice of Byzantine emperors, the Sultan presented him with a magnificent pastoral staff, and promised to respect all the ancient privileges of the patriarchal see. When Gennadius took leave, the Sultan
1 Ducas, pp, 252-60.